Susan's Blog

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Everybody, Everywhere

Ad hoc, ad loc
Quid pro Quo
So little time
So much to know.
–The Nowhere Man, Yellow Submarine

Here is an article written by one of my closest friends. We have been activists together in our town and schools for more than ten years. I am so proud of how she manages to push consistently for her issues, and yet still remains a credible member of our School Committee and town. Sometimes her work may irritate people, as does mine. But we cheer each other on, and remind each other that it is not often a comfortable place, being an advocate for change.

It is hard work, calling people’s attention to something they don’t want to think about (they have their own crap to think about, after all) and trying gently to get them to care about one more thing. And not hate you for bearing that message! Everyone’s got their full plate, plus the newspapers add a second helping of stuff to worry about, so it is a lot to expect others to automatically care about our issues. I am convinced that people need to hear things, the same things, many, many times in different formats before they start to really absorb a message that is not of natural interest to them. I confess that issues other than disability take a while to get my attention. I think to myself, “Jeez, now I have to care about that?” when some new news item pops up. Well, that’s how the issue of disability comes across to those who don’t know from it. So it is up to us to find novel ways to grab some of that precious bandwidth and ultimately get others to care and do something to help.

One of my goals with this blog is to encourage you all to become a little publicly active in your situations, whether you are a parent of a child with a disability or a person with a disability. Or if you grapple with some other thing that draws you to these pages. (An overarching, deeper goal of mine is to encourage and exhort you to be who you are, proudly (whether autie, aspie, mommy, tinker, tailor, soldier, spy, bellydancer…)). The best thing you can do for yourself probably is to find a constructive way to express what goes on in your particular life and relate it to something larger out there. When you find and articulate that connecting point, you stand the chance of opening someone else’s eyes and making them think. Causing people to think about something anew and afresh is how you change the world, and God knows, it could use a few tweaks (no offense to God Above but, come on!). Gather with a few other parents and exchange stories; if you have a little more energy, start a group with them. Or write a letter to the editor; call your state rep. Talk about it, make your case special. The act of talking/writing/expressing constructively is cathartic and eye-opening. And we cannot go through this one life we are given with our eyes and mouths shut. There is too much to be done.

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